Originally created 12/16/06

Blue Jays, Wells are near deal



All-Star center fielder Vernon Wells and the Toronto Blue Jays are close to an agreement on a $126 million, seven-year contract extension that would be the sixth-largest deal in baseball history.

Wells said Friday that the agreement is not yet complete but that he anticipates the contract will be finalized soon. The deal will start with the 2008 season.

The contract will trail only those of Alex Rodriguez ($252 million), Derek Jeter ($189 million), Manny Ramirez ($160 million), Todd Helton ($141.5 million) and Alfonso Soriano ($136 million).

Wells hit .303 with 32 homers and 106 RBI last season and is due $5.6 million next year.

RED SOX: Boston acquired former All-Star reliever Brendan Donnelly from the Los Angeles Angels and agreed to contracts with left-hander J.C. Romero and backup catcher Doug Mirabelli.

Boston sent rookie left-hander Phil Seibel to the Angels for the 35-year-old Donnelly, who became expendable when the Angels signed right-hander Justin Speier and lefty Darren Oliver.

DEVIL RAYS: Infielder Akinori Iwamura became the second Jap-anese star to land in the major leagues in as many days when he agreed to a $7.7 million, three-year contract with Tampa Bay.

The power-hitting infielder batted .311 with 32 homers and 77 RBI last season.

CUBS: Left-hander Ted Lilly joined Chicago, finalizing a $40 million, four-year contract agreed to last week at the winter meetings.

Lilly was 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.